Showing physical affection to our children is one of the best ways we have to bond with them, showing them our love and affection, and strengthening the relationship. That’s why we need to remember to hug our kids as often as we can, as there are many benefits that hugs bring to both our kids and ourselves. From making them happier and healthier kids to improving their emotional intelligence and helping them manage stress and frustration, this is how our children can benefit from hugs.
Many studies have shown that humans react positively to hugs regardless of age, as they work as an effective way to communicate love and affection. Therefore, hugging our kids regularly can help us express our feelings in an effective and positive way. When we hug someone, our bodies produce oxytocin, which tends to be known as the “hormone of love”. As a result, our kids will feel loved and valued, which boosts their optimism and self-esteem.
Besides increasing the feeling of being loved, producing oxytocin can help us be healthier, as this powerful hormone brings many benefits to our bodies. To begin with, high levels of oxytocin can strengthen our immune system, making us more resistant to different infections and illnesses. Also, studies have shown that this hormone also works as a treatment for different conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and digestive problems.
When our kids aren’t emotionally mature, they may throw tantrums more often than we’d like, and a common misconception is that hugging kids when throwing tantrums actually rewards negative behavior. However, this couldn’t be furthest from the truth, since tantrums are a sign of a lack of emotional control and self-regulation. Hugs help them to learn how to control their emotions, improving their emotional intelligence and reducing tantrums altogether.
Hugging our kids also helps them to manage feelings of stress and frustration, which is closely related to their emotional intelligence. Whenever a kid is feeling distressed, their brain is releasing a high level of cortisol, the main stress hormone that our body produces. Therefore, when our children are exposed to this hormone for a long period of time, it can have an impact on their physical, emotional, and mental well-being. The best way to fight cortisol is with oxytocin, as this hormone reduces the amount of cortisol, making our kids feel at ease and relaxed.